Following President Trump's decision Monday night to rescind the White House's invitation to the Eagles for a Super Bowl victory celebration, Fox News aired a news segment that appeared to show several Eagles players kneeling in protest as the national anthem played.
They weren't. They were kneeling in prayer.
The news segment, read by Fox News @ Night anchor Shannon Bream, showed images of Eagles players Corey Clement and Zach Ertz praying before and after games. One image, featuring former Eagles wide receiver Jordan Matthews, wasn't even from this season. One image showed safety Malcolm Jenkins raising his fist in protest, but didn't mention the reason for the gesture — to draw attention to racial injustice and mistreatment of minorities by law enforcement.
Fox News later deleted a tweet that was sent out Monday evening featuring the segment, which has since been uploaded elsewhere, and on Tuesday, the show's executive producer issued an apology for including the footage.
Ertz, who did not participate in any protests during the national anthem last season, ripped Fox News on Twitter on Tuesday morning, calling the segment "propaganda" aimed at painting the Eagles in a negative light.
>> READ MORE: Eagles disinvited to the White House: Things to know
"This can't be serious. … Praying before games with my teammates, well before the anthem, is being used for your propaganda?!" Ertz wrote. "Just sad, I feel like you guys should have to be better than this…"
Eagles defensive lineman Chris Long, who was among the players who had announced he wouldn't attend the White House celebration, also took to Twitter to criticize Fox News for airing such a misleading segment.
In a statement to the Inquirer and Daily News, Christopher Wallace, the executive producer of Fox News @ Night, apologized for airing unrelated footage of Eagles players kneeling in prayer as part of a news update on protests during the national anthem.
"During our report about President Trump canceling the Philadelphia Eagles trip to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl win, we showed unrelated footage of players kneeling in prayer," Wallace said in the statement. "To clarify, no members of the team knelt in protest during the national anthem throughout regular or post-season last year. We apologize for the error."
No player on last year's Eagles team took a knee to protest racial injustice during the national anthem during the regular season or the playoffs. Cornerback Ron Brooks knelt during the anthem for a preseason game, but he was cut prior to the start of the regular season.
On Fox & Friends Tuesday morning, cohost Brian Kilmeade defended the president's decision to abruptly rescind the White House invitation, claiming, among other things, that the president is "a busy guy."
"If you invite 70 players, world champions, to the White House, and nine show up, why bother going through the invitations?" Kilmeade said. "Clearly the Eagles are saying, 'I'd rather do anything else.' So the president says, 'I'm a busy guy. I'll do something else.' "
As the Inquirer and Daily News have reported, Trump rescinded the invitation after finding out that fewer than 10 players planned to attend the ceremony. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who has criticized Trump in the past, had planned to make the visit.